Commendation(redirected from commend)
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(1) In ancient Rome the right assumed by Julius Caesar and subsequently by Augustus and his successors to recommend to the Senate their own candidates for the remaining republican offices.
(2) In Western Europe in the early medieval period, an agreement sealing the act of giving oneself over to the protection of another, “stronger” person, who became patron of the former (the commended). The institution of commendation, which established relations of personal dependency of the commended with respect to the patron, formalized various underlying relationships. One type of commendation was the act of a vassal acknowledging his subordination to the power of the seignior, which was followed by an oath of fidelity and the granting of a benefice or fief to the vassal. A commendation of this type formalized the relationship of vassalage within the ruling class then taking shape.
A second form of commendation was that of impoverished free individuals to a large landowner. In this arrangement, a “weak” person gave himself over to the protection of a “stronger,” richer person and accepted not only personal dependence but frequently also material dependence: in many cases, the commended person was entrusted with land belonging to the patron. Such commendation was the legal formalization of a peasant’s dependence on a feudal landowner.